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'The people of Telangana will rise and seek self-rule'

Last updated on: October 10, 2011 16:00 IST

'Government is not serious about resolving the issue'

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Gummadi Vittal Rao, popularly known as Gaddar, has been at the forefront of the Telangana movement for a long time.

Gaddar had joined the struggle for a separate state in 1969. He also formed burrakatha, a folk art troupe named after Mahatma Gandhi, to spread awareness about the issue.

In an interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Gaddar says that the Centre's delaying tactics proves that it is not serious about resolving the Telangana row.

Do you think the Union government will take a decision on creating Telangana?

Before you ask me that question, I would like to ask, what is the meaning of this ongoing consultation process? It is a decision that has to be taken openly in Parliament. These delay tactics show that the government is not serious about resolving the issue. A decision should have been taken by now.
 
Don't you think a major issue like this needs extensive consultations?

Yes, it is not a minor issue. Why does this government forget that Home Minister P Chidambaram had issued a statement favouring the formation of Telangana? What is the point in discussing the issue again when the government was clear about its stand a year ago? They need to bring this issue to Parliament and discuss it.

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Image: A protest for Telangana and (inset) Gummadi Vittal Rao

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'Hyderabad is a part of Telangana'

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Why are you opposed to the ongoing discussions?

What it the use of a discussion when the home minister has already made a statement? I do not know who people like (Health Minister Ghulam Nabi) Azad or others are, to discuss this issue. What is the legal validity of such a discussion? I believe in democracy and in such a set-up, the home minister who is a representative of the Union government has given a statement that should be abided by. The consultations taking place today make no sense to me at all.
 
How do you think the government is handling the problem?

Is there a need to state the obvious? They have taken no decision till date. What has the government been doing? When the people come out on the roads seeking a legitimate right, they use the army against us. Is the army meant to suppress the people or fight enemy nations?

The Telangana movement is well within the framework of the Constitution. The government continues to delay the decision and also makes an issue out of a non-issue.
 
How is the government making an issue out of a non-issue?

That the state of Telangana should be created is a known fact and there is no doubt about that. What is the harm in sanctioning the creation of the state since it is a legitimate demand? They speak about Hyderabad and then speak about a Rayal-Telangana. Hyderabad is a part of Telangana and Rayalseema and Telangana can't be clubbed together. The government is resorting to political and criminal tactics.

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Image: A protest for Telangana

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'Natural resources of Telangana have been looted'

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There is talk about Naxals taking advantage of the unrest and joining the movement. What is your take on that?

There are many movements in this country -- Bodo, Naxalite etc. Do you mean all these movements have cropped up due to the Telangana movement? The Telangana movement is an old one and the only dream of all the martyrs who laid down their lives for this movement was nothing but achieving self-rule. I have heard allegations that Islamic terrorists and Naxals are trying to join the movement. There is no doubt that Naxals support the movement but the ideology of the Naxal movement and the Telangana struggle do not match. We, the people of Telangana, don't want violence.
 
Is forming a separate state the only solution to this crisis or can something else be worked out?

No, Telangana is the only solution. The government may provide five point programmes, economic packages etc, but all these will have leakages and they will never solve the problem. The people of Telangana will rise and seek self-rule.
 
What do you think is the real problem?

All these years, the people of Telangana very religiously cast their votes, thinking that a solution could be reached through the ballot. But that was never meant to be. The biggest problem is that the natural resources of Telangana have been looted and the locals never got anything. The biggest enemies (of Telangana) are the World Bank, the capitalists of Andhra and the enemy within (politicians).

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Image: A protest for Telangana

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'Students are making this sacrifice for self-rule'

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What is your opinion about the Telangana Rashtra Samithi?

It is a political party and when a party speaks about elections, you immediately associate it with money, mafia and the media. The TRS seems to have brokered an alliance with the Congress which is the same party that has been depriving the people of a separate Telangana. The people are aware of this and that is why the TRS has not been able to improve its position in Telangana.
 
Speaking about the ongoing protests, what about the numerous students who have suffered academically because of this?

Look at the condition of the country. Seventy five per cent of people have no basic amenities or education. In Telangana, students are making this sacrifice for self-rule. They are doing this so they have better opportunities in the future. They will make up for it. But for the moment they feel it is their duty to be on the road and fight for the cause.

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Image: A protest for Telangana

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'We have not touched a single person from Andhra or Rayalseema'

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What do you have to say about the ongoing violence?

Why is the sufferer being held responsible for this violence? The government has to take responsibility for the violence. The Telangana movement is a non-violent one and is reformative by nature. The state government is creating this problem leading to the violence. We have not touched a single person from Andhra or Rayalseema during this protest. Why is the government deploying paramilitary forces? All this leads to undue provocation.
 
If and when Telangana is formed, how tolerant will you be towards the people of Seema-Andhra who reside in your region?

As a revolutionary, I love all the suffering classes of the world. There is no threat for people from other regions living in Telangana. There are people who have been born and brought up here and they will be treated with love and respect since they feel for the place.

However, there are a few capitalists who have no love for humanity, who use poor labour for their benefits, who treat the market as their God; they are imperialists. Such people may have a tough time since they basically have no love for humanity, but have over the years exploited it.


Image: A protest for Telangana

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